Inspenet, November 14, 2023.
The Ministry of Ecological Transition has authorized the dismantling and sealing of the last oil wells in Spain. Repsol and Cepsa suspended crude oil extraction operations on the Casablanca platform in June 2021, as they could not carry out new research to keep this field active.
Despite having permits to operate until 2025 and 2038, depending on the well, the impossibility of carrying out new prospecting led to a significant reduction in production and it was decided to close a field that generated approximately 200 barrels of oil per day.
Repsol, in accordance with current regulations, presented to the Government the plan to carry out the dismantling, which includes the sealing of the Casablanca-11, Casablanca-12, Rodaballo-1, Montanazo D-5, Lubina-1, and Chipirón underwater wells. -1, Chipirón NE and Chipirón S.
The process of closing oil wells
The Ministry of Ecological Transition has given a period of five years to carry out the total closure of the oil wells, a process that will be divided into three different phases.
The first phase, which is expected to last approximately 105 days, will focus on the temporary suspension of six shallow wells included in the project, as well as the permanent abandonment of those that are safe to leave permanently at this initial stage. Operations will begin with the Casablanca-11 well. The vessel contracted to carry out these operations in the first phase of the project is the “Seawell”, owned by the British company Helix Well .
The second phase of the project will cover sixty-four days for deep wells and 118 days for shallow wells. During this period, the definitive abandonment of the two deep wells (Lubina-1 and Montanazo D-5) and those shallow wells that were temporarily suspended in the first campaign will be completed. One or two semi-submersible mobile drilling units (MODUs) are expected to participate, whose support vessels have yet to be determined.
The last phase, with an estimated duration of thirty-eight days, will focus on the recovery and removal of the eight well heads. This stage will be carried out by two MPV-type support vessels, one in charge of cutting and removing the wellheads, and the other intended to maintain the exclusion area, both yet to be determined.
The start of abandonment operations cannot be carried out without prior presentation to the Competent Authority, at least one month in advance of the scheduled start date, of the corresponding intervention program evaluated by an independent verifier. Furthermore, such operations may not begin if the Competent Authority raises objections regarding their content.
This approval to dismantle the deposit occurs in the midst of a conflict between the Government and Repsol. Josu Jon Imaz, CEO of the company, has indicated that he will review the pending investment decisions in the industrial area if the Government extends, as planned, the tax on energy companies and banking.
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